Is Taco Bell's New Cheese-Covered Burrito Cheesy Enough? We Found Out.
The Grilled Cheese Burrito comes with a whole outer layer of cheese.
When Thrillist tasted Taco Bell's Toasted Cheddar Chalupa back in September of last year, we noted that -- despite the promise of its name -- it could actually use more cheese. Were we being greedy? Maybe. In any case, it looks like the chain took notice. On Thursday, it introduced the new Grilled Cheese Burrito, which sports a whole layer of cheese on the outside. We got our hands on it to see if it's as cheesy as it sounds.
To recap, T-Bell makes two pretty big claims about the new burrito: 1) it's the cheesiest new menu item the chain has introduced so far this year, and 2) it's three times cheesier than the average menu item. Each Grilled Cheese Burrito is made with seasoned beef, rice, a three-cheese blend, crunchy red tortilla strips, chipotle sauce, and reduced fat sour cream -- all in a flour tortilla that's "hugged" by a warm layer of cheese that's grilled to the outside.
So, is it as cheesy as Taco Bell promises? We obviously had to find out, so I ordered a few. Here's what I thought:
Enough cheese to please
I want to start by stating for the record that the Grilled Cheese Burrito smelled just like a traditional grilled cheese sandwich, which is good considering Taco Bell said that's what inspired them here. If I hadn't known any better, I would have expected to find toasty, cheese-oozing sandwiches upon opening the bag. But the similarities don't stop there. I was pleased to find my burritos (yes, plural; I was hungry) with a deep brown exterior where they had grilled the cheese to the tortilla, almost perfectly mimicking the crusty browned outside of a grilled cheese. I was impressed.
But let's talk about that outer layer of cheese for a minute. I know marketing photos from fast food chains can be deceiving, but I was still expecting a little bit more cheese -- specifically, a slightly thicker layer of it -- on the outside of the burrito. To Taco Bell's credit, the cheese indeed "hugged" my burritos as promised, covering the top side of each. This outer cheese is obviously what differentiates this burrito from others on the menu and, well, it does that successfully. Most importantly, it adds a buttery, burnt cheese flavor to almost every bite you take.
As for the inner cheese, I found a generous amount of Taco Bell's cheese blend melted and mixed into the equally generous amount of sour cream and spicy chipotle sauce. Together, the three ingredients formed a rich dairy medley that almost tasted like spicy nacho cheese sauce, which perfectly removes your attention from the typically meh seasoned beef as well as the seasoned rice in there (if you notice the rice at all).
Yes, maybe the outer layer of cheese could be a tad more substantial, but that's not to say the burrito doesn't boast enough cheese overall. It does. But, much to my surprise, not too much cheese. With Taco Bell's claims in mind, I went into my first bite prepared for absolute cheese overload, so I was surprised to find a level of cheese that was short of obscene. I'd argue it sports the ideal amount of cheese as there were no bites where I thought, Hmm, this could use more cheese, and there were also no bites where I thought, Hmm, this could use less cheese.
My instinct was to douse my burritos with the 10 packets of Fire Sauce I ordered, but I resisted the temptation and don't regret it all, thanks to the spicy chipotle sauce inside. However, I made the mistake of biting into my first burrito (again, I had three because I have no self control) with the cheese facing up. Don't do that! Eat it with the cheese facing down so that it's the first thing to hit your tongue. You can thank me later.